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Think of a tree that is full of healthy green leaves, now imagine that this image is reflected within your chest wall – this represents your lungs. The lungs are where your body extracts the oxygen from the air but at the same time releases the carbon dioxide waste from your body – amazing. However, the lungs are part of a larger system called the respiratory system, which also includes the nose, sinuses, tonsils and throat. Many factors can affect your respiratory system; the most common include allergies and infections (eg: cold viruses), dust and many other pollutant particles in the air, sinus headaches, asthma, bronchitis, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Your lungs are precious and are fundamental for your life; in this article I will highlight nature-based ways to maintain or improve your respiratory health.

Nutrition for Your Lungs

Vitamin D

One of the most rigorous research organizations called the Cochrane Research Group, concluded after reviewing several studies, that vitamin D can help those with asthma in reducing the number of asthma attacks needing steroids, and was shown to reduce asthma-related hospitalization by 50%. Australian researchers also found that low vitamin D at an early age may predispose for the development of persistent asthma, childhood allergy and likelihood of streptococcal presence in the upper respiratory tract.

Honey

Several studies have shown that honey can help relieve cough including night time cough in children.

Vitamin C and Probiotics

A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that over the course of six months, children given a probiotic bacterial supplement mixed with vitamin C had significantly fewer upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), fewer days with URTI symptoms, less absence from school as well as less use of cough medicines.

Herbs and Your Lungs

Eucalyptus

The oil from this famous plant can open up your respiratory passageways and has been shown to work against several microbes.

Horehound

This herb is native to Europe and is in the mint family. It has a long tradition of use for coughs and for ridding tough phlegm.

Hyssop

Also in the mint family, this herb originates in Asia and Europe and is similarly used for cough and to expectorate, often in combination with Horehound. Recent research has shown that hyssop has significant antimicrobial activity against a variety of organisms.

Elecampane

The roots of this plant have been used for bronchial coughs and for whooping coughs. Ayurveda, the natural medicine of India, also uses this herb as a general lung tonic.

Note, serious breathing or cardiovascular symptoms must first be examined by a doctor and treatment discussed accordingly.

Dr. Rahim Habib ND
About the Author

Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor with over 15 years of experience in general family practice. He has a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxifying their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s health, assisting kids in their learning and behavioural health with conditions such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, asthma, allergies and childhood obesity. He also helps adults with chronic conditions, such as thyroid disorders, infertility, inflammation, obesity, autoimmunity, dementia and cancer care. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing and can be reached at 905-597-7201 or www.FamilyNaturopath.ca.